DE BEER: Naming traditions #germany #sephardic #names

Hilary Osofsky

 I could use some help determining which of two conflicting patronymics provides the given name of a DE BEER ancestor.

According to a summary written by a family member about 25 years ago, "In the year 1742, Jacob Simon Beer signed his name Jakob bar Moscheh Bar in Hebrew." The question is, what was the name of Jacob Simon's father - Simon or Moscheh?

For context, this signature might have been for secular purposes, possibly related to a writ of protection the family was seeking in Emden that year, following their emigration from Amsterdam to Germany. Although we don't have Jacob Simon's date of birth, since he was necessarily an adult in 1742, guesstimating, he was born in the late 1600's or early 1700's, most likely in Amsterdam. There is some speculation that the family originally came from Portugal.

Normally, I would conclude that Jacob Simon's father was Moscheh.

However, Jacob's descendants were very consistent in the naming pattern they used; in every generation, the sons used their father's given name as their middle name. So Simon Jacob, born 1747, named one of his sons Jacob Simon (1774); who named one of his sons Simon Jacob (1808), who named one of his sons Jacob Simon (1853). Presumably, the "bar" was implicit in this patronymic naming scheme. 

If the family naming pattern were decisive here, then the original Jacob Simon's father would be Simon. 

If, however, "bar Moschech" were determinative, then Jacob Simon's father was named Moscheh.  

I'm hoping someone who has some knowledge of naming customs in Amsterdam around the turn of the 18th century can give me some direction.

Thanks very much.

Hilary  Osofsky





--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: JoannaYael <jyzimmerman@...>
To: main@...
Date: Tue, 04 May 2021 06:18:38 -0700
Subject: Re: DE BEER: Naming traditions #germany #names #sephardic
Bar Moshe ב״ר משה means in Hebrew Ben Rabbi Moshe, meaning, son of rabbi Moshe (Bar is an abbreviation). Among Ashkenazi Jews, BAR meant usually ‘Ben Reb’ (Reb was a honorific that did not indicate the status of a Rabbi).

Naming a son after his living father was NOT a Jewish custom. 

Dr. Joanna Yael Zimmerman


Among early German Jews Jacob Simon naming his son Simon Jacob was common before family names were used.  The family names were usually required by government edict.  I do not know how common continuing this practice with first name and middle name after a family name was adopted. Naming someone after a living father was not done by Eastern European Jews but maybe not for German Jews.  Based on a German Jewish family that I researched (they occupied my house in Pittsburgh around 1890) Jacob Kaufmann named a son Karl Jacob Kaufmann.  Karl Jacob named his son Karl Jacob Kaufmann Jr.  Other family members used Jr. 
Bob Malakoff
Pittsburgh PA 


I have done extensive research for my family tree with Jews in the Netherlands. I have been successful finding great records using this website:
It is a free website, and you don't need to signup or login in to use. I would suggest you use Jacob de Beer in the name to search on as I didn't find any Jacob Simon de Beer, but 86 pages of just Jacob de Beer, in various permutations. Then sort on date, to get the records in date order, but many early records were undated. You can filter by location, source, role (groom, father, registrant, etc). Especially if you know this man's partner's name, it can help you narrow down the results.

This website also includes Netherlands population registry information that was used to determine who was living where. If you don't find a birth record, you may be able to find the person in the population registry with an accurate birthdate, and the members of his household. This may help you find his correct parents and/or children.

Good luck.

Deborah Shindell
Trumbull, CT
researching: Beserglik, Lederhendler, Goldberg (all in Poland) and Szmukler (Ukraine)

Eva Lawrence

This is just a suggestion, but perhaps there was an unnoticed umlaut (two dots) over the a in bar. It would then be pronounced in the same way as Beer, and  the signature could be taken as: Jacob Beer Mosche Beer, i.e., Jacob son of Mosche.  
Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.


I partly agree with Eva.  My great-great-uncle Abraham Lob Beer, born in Moravia in 1858 has Beer in the birth register entry, but is indexed as Bär in the register index.  (I hope that the umlaut shows up).

Thus I read "Jakob bar Moscheh Bar" as Jakob son of Reb Moshe Bär"

I would also be interested in how Beer is written in the Hebrew script.  My Beer ancestors use bet ayin ayin reish.

Tom Beer
Melbourne, Australia


Hi Hilary

For Emden, I believe the work of Max Markreich "The Jews of Ostfriesland" (available at LBI) is a key resource.
Also the below resource indexes the family names mentioned in his work, by page name (lots of DE BEERs...):

Best Regards,
Daniel Mayer